If you’re a diehard metalhead, you probably know the hits, the classics and the crucial cuts. Our favorite bands play them live and we lose our minds in the pit, scream along, bang our heads and raise up our horns. But the best groups also have tons of awesome songs that fall under the radar and get overlooked. With that in mind, we present the “Deep Cuts” lists, which collect what we consider to be some of the most criminally underappreciated songs from some of heavy music’s greatest acts. Up today, the one and only Slayer. Check out our picks for their finest deep cuts below, and if you have more to add, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.
ALBUM: Show No Mercy
Slayer nod to their Iron Maiden influence on this galloping old-school cut, which captures the fresh-faced young group before they morphed into the satan- and serial-killer-obsessed speed demons we all know and love. It almost sounds like a totally different band — but at least that band rocks.
“Behind the Crooked Cross”
ALBUM: South of Heaven
Of course, Slayer rule when they go fast — as they do on Reign in Blood, arguably the greatest thrash album of all time. But for some fans, the thrash pioneers’ best songs are the slower, groovier, more evil and atmospheric ones. Enter “Behind the Crooked Cross,” which finds Slayer cruising down the highway to hell.
“Skeletons of Society”
ALBUM: Seasons in the Abyss
Another more grooving and relatively laidback number, “Skeleton Society” is easy to overlook, sitting as it does on Seasons in the Abyss, an album that also features such undeniable classics as “War Ensemble,” “Dead Skin Mask” and the title track. The truth is, though, whenever this cut comes on, it’s damn near impossible not to headbang along.
ALBUM: Diabolus in Musica
Slayer’s most polarizing album and the closest they’ve to come to following trends (nu-metal, anyone?) instead of defying and leading them, Diabolus in Musica doesn’t get a whole lotta love. The thrashiest, most blistering cut on the record, “Scrum” stands out — in the best way possible — not only on the controversial LP but also within the group’s catalog, especially that of their Paul Bostaph era.
ALBUM: Christ Illusion
Christ Illusion marked the metal titans’ long-awaited reunion with drummer extraordinaire Dave Lombardo. This hyper-charged ripper pushes buttons — as Slayer loved to do — with its title, but more than anything, it hits a thrash sweet spot, boasting particularly awesome blast beats and gnarly riffery.